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Old 27-06-2013, 16:32   #1
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propane tanks replace or refill?

Hi All,

How is it working with propane tanks on the way?
Can you fill up or do you have to replace the tank and leave your empty tank at the gas company?
And what kind of thanks are the most common? I know there are different connections, how do you deal with that?
It would be nice to bring some of the new plastic 25 L. tanks as shown in the picture. But then i like to refill instead of replace, like i do here in the Netherlands, fill up with LPG. So what is the best and what is your experience.

How difficult is it to get your tanks full on the way?

Thank you, Mark.
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Old 27-06-2013, 16:48   #2
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Re: propane tanks replace or refill?

Most places have propane, and if you're in the US, most places just take your old tank and hand you a full one, or will refill the one you have. I have not bothered purchasing an expensive aluminum or fiberglass tank for that reason...I can go to Home Depot and just get a new shiny steel tank for the price of a refill.

The story is likely much different in other parts of the Americas where they just refill your existing tank. In those areas it probably is wise, from a safety perspective, to consider an aluminum or fiberglass tank. Would love to hear opinions in support of them as I've always been curious if they are worth the expense.
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Old 27-06-2013, 17:11   #3
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Re: propane tanks replace or refill?

i have not had to exchange my tanks ever---if i choose to do so, there are places in usa that do that. i am not inside usa and they donot do that in most places...here in mexico, you have your tank re filled. many cruisers i have met have used fg tanks. i use one aluminum and one steel tank.

if the marina here has a program for refilling tanks, it willinvolve my tanks being marked by me with my boat name and the propane truck comes around on a certain day and it is done. easy.
if marina doesnt have fill program, is easy to catch the propane guy and have tanks filled by him...no problem.
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Old 27-06-2013, 17:22   #4
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Re: propane tanks replace or refill?

G'DAy Mark10,

As one wanders about the globe, one encounters several different valve and connector arrangements for LPG cylinders. One also finds different blends of propane and butane, but for the most part these don't really matter much. Finally, many countries have rules about refilling cylinders that are not locally made or certified, and that can be a real PITA. IN some areas, anything but steel tanks are forbidden.

"Swap-and-Go" exchange cylinders are becoming more common, but always come at a higher price per kg of gas... sometimes quite a bit higher, if that matters.

One means of defeating the bureaucracies is by making adapters for your particular cylinder's connector. This consists of a fitting that matches your tank, a length of hose suitable for the pressure (<150 psi) and a fitting that matches the local valves. Then you purchase a local exchange cylinder, hang it in a tree, connect up your empty tank below with the adapter, open both valves and wait for a while. Gravity will slowly transfer the gas from one to the other. Then return the now empty or nearly empty cylinder and get your deposit back.

It is a PITA, but has served many a cruiser over the years! The good news is that LPG has become nearly universally available... like kerosene used to be!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 28-06-2013, 07:59   #5
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Re: propane tanks replace or refill?

Here is a tip that may help those having trouble getting tanks filled: I keep onboard a brass adapter (West Marine?) that that will enable the cruiser to run their stove with those ubiquitous disposable camping gas bottles that I use for my grill ,one pot gimbaled stove, and occasionally for lighting.They will run a burner for many hours and store readily in my vented gas locker.
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Old 28-06-2013, 14:09   #6
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Re: propane tanks replace or refill?

One means of defeating the bureaucracies is by making adapters for your particular cylinder's connector. This consists of a fitting that matches your tank, a length of hose suitable for the pressure (<150 psi) and a fitting that matches the local valves. Then you purchase a local exchange cylinder, hang it in a tree, connect up your empty tank below with the adapter, open both valves and wait for a while. Gravity will slowly transfer the gas from one to the other. Then return the now empty or nearly empty cylinder and get your deposit back.

It is a PITA, but has served many a cruiser over the years! The good news is that LPG has become nearly universally available... like kerosene used to be!



Ok! I will keep that trick in mind!

I will take a plastic and a metal tank. And yes, we need to stay cheap. So fill up is the way to go if that is possible. If not, i will exchange the metal tank for a filled up one.
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Old 28-06-2013, 14:18   #7
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Re: propane tanks replace or refill?

it all depends on the type and size of the tanks. My tank isn't the standard gas station size so there isn't any swapping. But last time I refilled my tank it turns out it is past it's certification date, so I need to either now buy a new one or find a place to recertify it.

But for my home BBQ I normally have it refilled because it is less expense and actually less PITA that a store exchange.
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Old 28-06-2013, 16:03   #8
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Re: propane tanks replace or refill?

Please note! The fiberglass tank that I purchased from the Grill House in Wilmington, N.C. can not be refilled due to a DOT directive, so they tell me. I have had the tank less than a year and not used all of the gas in it. The Grill House will not help me in any way. The tank in Question was made by Lite cylinders, DOT SP14562-294, s/n 0041692. M5792 has been identified as the model in question and it is a 30 pound cylinder. I am glad that I kept my steel cylinder. The reason I purchased the frp one was it was easy to see how much fuel was in it. J.T.Duncan
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Old 28-06-2013, 16:15   #9
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Re: propane tanks replace or refill?

Here in Oz I use galvanised gas cylinders. They are well accepted for refilling provided they have a current inspection stamp.

It may not be easy to have the plastic cylinders refilled.

My experiece of plain gas cylinders has been that they rust very quickly to a point where it would be dangerous to keep using them.

It would be good to keep a set of adapters on board so if any knows where to get them or what the specifications are I'd like to know.
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Old 28-06-2013, 16:41   #10
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Re: propane tanks replace or refill?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don L View Post
it all depends on the type and size of the tanks. My tank isn't the standard gas station size so there isn't any swapping. But last time I refilled my tank it turns out it is past it's certification date, so I need to either now buy a new one or find a place to recertify it.

But for my home BBQ I normally have it refilled because it is less expense and actually less PITA that a store exchange.
Or a new sticker.
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Old 28-06-2013, 16:47   #11
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Re: propane tanks replace or refill?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
Here in Oz I use galvanised gas cylinders. They are well accepted for refilling provided they have a current inspection stamp.

It may not be easy to have the plastic cylinders refilled.

My experiece of plain gas cylinders has been that they rust very quickly to a point where it would be dangerous to keep using them.

It would be good to keep a set of adapters on board so if any knows where to get them or what the specifications are I'd like to know.
Yes i am also concerned about the rust. i think 4 months of salt and sun can do the job.
That's why i was wondering about the plastic tanks. It you protect them from the sun it will be ok.

But i understand that often they don't want to fill up tanks they don't know.
With "they" I mean the people with the power. ;-)
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Old 28-06-2013, 16:57   #12
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Re: propane tanks replace or refill?

Lite brand fiberglass tanks have a recall on them and can not be filled. I have 2 of the ones sold at West Marine and do not have a problem getting them filled in KW. They do have to be re-certed after 5 yrs. I love them they fit in my propane locker and a full 11# tank weighs less than an empty steel 20# tank . NO RUST and NO CORROSION
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Old 28-06-2013, 17:15   #13
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Re: propane tanks replace or refill?

In the Caribbean, on most of the islands, you put your boat name on the tank and left it per the morning VHF net on a designated day of the week with an agreed upon fee in an envelope and then picked the full bottle up in the evening.

Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Florida when I had questions about doing business ashore I always asked a taxi driver.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:27   #14
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Re: propane tanks replace or refill?

Along the east coast US I always had my tank refilled, as it is a particular size for my propane locker and I cannot accept exchange tank sizes. ACE Hardware stores are a good resource for refilling
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:35   #15
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Re: propane tanks replace or refill?

Ace is where I go for refills. My local guy charges $12 for a 20 lb tank.

Both my tanks are aluminium with zero corrosion after 10 years. They have to be re certified every five years under RI law.

Even though the green camping tanks can run your stove you can't leave them in a locker for too long. They will rust out in 6 months or so. You need one of those vacuum baggers to solve this problem.
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